2020 has been an unprecedented year for just about everyone, and the retail space is no exception. Many retailers have been hard hit by shutdowns and decreased spending due to a weakened economy. The holiday season has always been a very profitable time for retailers. In fact, for some companies, November and December account for about 30% of their annual sales. This means these next few months offer a great way for retailers to make up for a less than stellar financial year. Keep reading to uncover some tips on how your retail business can increase its sales this season.

1. Provide Limited Contact Shopping Options

Many customers are still uneasy about the idea of shopping in-store, which is why it’s so important to offer limited contact options. Many retail stores have started offering services such as drive-up. A drive-up option allows customers to select their items online and park at a designated location outside of the store to pick up their items. Customers have the opportunity to get all the same items they would in-store without the need to leave their vehicle. This greatly minimizes the contact between employees and customers. In these times of uncertainty, it is important to provide your customers with solutions that make them feel safe and cared for.

2. Ramp Up Your Digital Efforts

Online shopping has become the preferred platform for many buyers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even as stores begin to reopen, data has shown that 82% of shoppers plan to continue shopping online. If your business doesn’t already have a solid digital presence, now is the time to start. Ensure your website is easily navigable and contains all the information your customers need. A great way to directly cater to holiday shoppers is by creating a FAQ page that specifically caters to questions surrounding rush shipping, holiday discounts, etc.

We also recommend emphasizing the quality of your social media content this year. With the pandemic, more people than ever before have turned to social media to find new products. Create engaging social media content that is geared toward your target audience and you will likely attract more users who are interested in what your business has to offer.

3. Make Sanitization a Priority

With safety concerns paramount, it is important to make sanitization a priority for your customers and employees. Customers who notice your company is taking the virus seriously and implementing extra precautions will be far more likely to enter your store.

One way to create a safer shopping experience is by providing several hand disinfecting stations throughout your store. According to a recent poll done by IMI, 64% of shoppers believe the most critical action retailers can take is providing hand sanitizer to customers. Since shopping is typically a high contact activity, shoppers want to have the ability to regularly disinfect their hands throughout their time in-store.

4. Provide a Variety of Shipping Options

According to NPD, consumers plan to do 48% of their holiday shopping online this year, up from 41% last year. This means it’s crucial to provide a versatile online shopping experience that will meet the needs of every customer.

Shipping is one of the most important aspects of the online shopping experience. Customers want options and they don’t want to overpay. We recommend offering a free shipping promotion, as this has been proven to increase a store’s revenue by upwards of 10%. It’s also important to ensure you have several rush shipping options for those last-minute shoppers. Research shows that more than half of shoppers wait until December 23rd to complete their gift shopping. With such a large portion of shoppers waiting until just a few days before the holiday, it’s crucial to offer overnight and express shipping options.

Final Takeaways

All in all, safety is the most important thing for retailers to keep in mind this year. Your first priority should be providing your customers with a shopping experience that makes them feel comfortable, whether that is distanced in-store, online or through an alternate pick-up option. The key to success in these unusual times is ensuring you provide a variety of options for your customers, so everyone has the opportunity to have an enjoyable shopping experience.

Ray Ko is the Senior Ecommerce Manager at ShopPOPDisplays. With years of experience in the retail space, Ray is an expert in formulating and implementing e-commerce strategies to increase revenue.

Hand sanitizer stock photo by rblfmr/Shutterstock